Day 53: Alma to La Crosse - Racpat Northern Tier - CycleBlaze

July 23, 2021

Day 53: Alma to La Crosse

That wicked wind, heat and humidity

“We are here already?” Rachel says, “I thought we still have miles to go.” We are relieved to be near the trailhead of the Great River Trail, the first of 4 trails we’ll follow in Wisconsin to Reedsburg. The trail hopefully means in trees and shade.

We left the campground early hoping to beat the heat and the wind. As we ride through Cochrane, we feel fortunate that we stopped yesterday when we did: there is not much here. And while the next town, Fountain City has a motel, this would have been a struggle for us to get here yesterday. There are no really big climbs but the wind is up. We meet another cyclist headed west in Fountain city. Since we cannot find a café we end up in a picnic shelter in the park eating some snacks and talking routes.

When we reached Marshland, we are a bit surprised, somehow we thought we still had miles to go. Patrick navigates us to the trailhead of the Great River Trail. Just as we reach this, a couple on mountain bikes arrive. They are from Texas and traveling around by car and doing day rides on Rail to Trails. They too did the Elroy-Sparta trail and tell us of the detours and the tunnels.

Great River Trail is great, only a bit bumpy at this end. Patrick is struggling still with the heat and humidity. We ride seeing through the tunnel of trees more farmland and marshes, spooking rabbits and deer as we pass. There are lots of local cyclists using the trail. At one intersection at a crossroad we stop when we see a dozen loaded bikes riding toward us. There are about 4 adults along with kids riding from Reedsburg to Perrot Lakes State Park. 

We stopped for a cold drink and food break in Onalaska, picked up the trail again and then it became confusing for a while. With some “bush whacking” we make our way to La Crosse. 

Our Warmshowers hosts texted instructions earlier that the house would be unlocked, where to park the bikes and the room to settle into along with the Wi-Fi password. The past couple of days we had been in an area where cell phone service was limited to emergency calls only. We relish being out of heat and that there is air conditioning.  After a shower, with laundry done, we rest and update the journal.

Our hosts are busy with other obligations; we walk to a nearby Mexican Restaurant for dinner. Their dine-in is still not available, but take-out works and we walk back to the house to eat. We look at maps and work out the staging of our planned route. The next stage is a continuation of a sequence of rail to trails, Bike 4 Trails.

Rest day tomorrow!

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Folks from Texas, at the trailhead of Great River Trail
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Finding shade to sort out the way to go
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We will need to backtrack to this intersection to ride the La Crosse Trail
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Arrived at our warmshowers host
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Today's ride: 54 miles (87 km)
Total: 2,257 miles (3,632 km)

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